There is no shortage of tracking apps used by families and loved ones to keep an eye on another, whether it’s to know where they are or for safety concerns.
We’ve covered apps like Alert.Us, Life360, iHound, React Mobile and Rapid Protect that do exactly that, but most of these apps rely on GPS and pre-geofenced areas for tracking to work. That’s where PlaceUs tries to differentiate itself.
PlaceUs is an iOS app that launched today, made by Alohar Mobile, that uses artificial intelligence and ambient sensing technology to utilize all the sensors on the phone to determine patterns and motions of the user. The app tries to use GPS as little as possible as it is a battery drainer.
Let’s say you’re walking down the street in New York City and suddenly stop to go into a coffee shop. The app will recognize this stop motion and will automatically send a push notification to whoever is in your “inner circle” that you’re at that coffee shop. It will also send a notification once you leave that location.
Dave Smiddy, VP of Products at Alohar Mobile, said in denser areas, the app will try to guess where you are and will provide you options to pick if it chooses the store next door. Once you pick exactly where you are, it will remember that choice and will be more accurate if you go to that coffee shop again.
But another useful feature of the app is that it doesn’t send a push notification of the address you have stopped at, but it tries to determine the destination name with technology called place detection.
The app had “thousands” of beta testers in the past nine months and Smiddy said they’ve noticed that people tend to go to the same places a lot. Recognizing these patterns is a primary function of PlaceUs‘ context awareness technology.
If the app recognizes that you text your significant other if they need anything at the grocery store when you are there, it will try to automate that in the future.
Of course with all these tracking apps there is the option for a private mode in case you do not want to share your current location, but I’ve always wondered how that would be helpful since you’re only prodding more questions on where you are.
PlaceUs also has a feature called “On the Go” that allows for real-time location tracking.
Smiddy said the main differentiator of PlaceUs to the competition is the simplicity and automatic nature of the app. You don’t have to set geofenced areas and all you have to do once you install the app is connect with your loved one.
PlaceUs uses industry standard security encryption to protect data, and Smiddy says privacy and security are top concerns for the company, which is based in Palo Alto and was launched in 2010. At some point the company plans to add premium features at a cost, but does not plan to do so in the near future.
An Android app is also in the works.